Organizational Diagnosis

Course Number: 
GAFL 550


  • Summer 2017
Course Format: 
Hybrid (on-campus and online)
On-Campus Day(s): 
On-Campus Time(s): 

On-campus meetings for Summer 2017 will be on:

  • Fridays from 9:00am-1:00pm on June 23 and July 21
  • Saturdays from 9:00am-1:00pm on May 20, June 24, and July 22
On-Campus Location: 

Fisher-Bennett 20

Online Day(s): 
Online Time: 
6pm - 7pm
Course Description: 

This course will help participants learn the skills involved in conducting a systemic organizational diagnosis. Applying organizational diagnostic skills can help organizations make more effective decisionsevidence-based decisions; increase an organization's ability to learn and to apply these learnings; increase organizational effectiveness; and often save organizations from flawed and detrimental actions. The course places an emphasis on systems thinking, psychodynamic organizational theory, and appreciative inquiry as ways into understanding organizational issues and problems. Frequently, when organizations find themselves in troublee.g., problems in the system about such things as lack of leadership, poor communication, diminished productivity, low morale etc.there is a tendency to frame the problem(s) simplistically and/or locate blame on a few difficult individuals or groups. However, upon closer examination, problematic issues are often found to be symptomatic and/or symbolic of multiple issues within the organization.

This course will help participants to understand how problems which appear at one level of the system (for example, at the personal or interpersonal level) often represent problems at other levels of the system (e.g., at the group and/or institutional level), or signify a range of inter-related issues. Emphasis will be placed on the diagnostic skills needed to examine government agencies, non-profits, and bureaucracies. It will provide participants with the theoretical constructs and application skills necessary for identifying and framing problem areas, collecting data, and organizing feedback to client systems. Real-time examples will inform our discussions as we consider the relationships between diagnosis, organizational reflection, and appropriate action.

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Contact Information

Fels Institute of Government
University of Pennsylvania
3814 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Phone: (215) 898-2600
Fax: (215) 746-2829